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Implications of sustainability constraints on UK bioenergy development: Assessing optimistic and precautionary approaches with UK MARKAL

McDowall, W; Anandarajah, G; Dodds, PE; Tomei, J; (2012) Implications of sustainability constraints on UK bioenergy development: Assessing optimistic and precautionary approaches with UK MARKAL. Energy Policy , 47 424 - 436. 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.05.015. Green open access

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Abstract

Bioenergy is an important renewable energy resource. However, assessments of the future of bioenergy are beset with uncertainty and contested values, suggesting that a precautionary approach to bioenergy resource development may be warranted. This paper uses UK MARKAL to examine the implications of adopting a precautionary approach to bioenergy development in the UK. The paper reports a detailed review of UK bioenergy resources and sustainability constraints, and develops precautionary and optimistic resource scenarios. The paper then examines the implications of these scenarios using the energy systems model MARKAL, finding that a precautionary approach adds to the cost of decarbonisation, but does not significantly alter the optimal technology mix. In particular, biomass and co-firing CCS emerge as optimal technologies across scenarios. The question of UK land availability for bioenergy production is highlighted within the paper. With less land available for bioenergy production, the costs of decarbonisation will rise; whereas if more land is available for bioenergy, then less land is available for either food production or ecosystem conservation. This paper quantifies one side of this trade-off, by estimating the additional costs incurred when UK land availability for bioenergy production is constrained.

Type: Article
Title: Implications of sustainability constraints on UK bioenergy development: Assessing optimistic and precautionary approaches with UK MARKAL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.05.015
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2012.05.015
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: MARKAL, Bioenergy, Sustainability
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1348929
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